Bars to stay away from Churches

Two Brooklyn lawmakers are tightening a law so people don’t drink near where they pray.

Under State Sen. Dan Squadron and Assemblymember Joan Millman’s bill, a loophole will be closed in the so-called 200-foot law, intended to keep nightlife establishments a reasonable distance from schools and places of worship.

“By clarifying that measurements must be taken from the property line, as was always intended, this bill creates a clear, consistent standard for communities and establishments to follow – another step toward desperately needed consistency and clarity in licensing,” said Squadron of the bill that recently passed the Senate.

Squadron said the bill requires the 200-foot separation to be measured from the property line of the nightlife establishment.

The clarification creates a clear, enforceable law that nightlife operators can adhere to and communities can rely on, he added.

Craig Hammerman, the district manager of Community Board 6, noted that it was the board, which encompasses much of Brownstone Brooklyn, which has been imploring the lawmakers to tighten up the loopholes.

In one past case, a bar was able to open on Court Street, directly across the from St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Church, because it was technically within the law — much to the consternation of residents, Hammerman recalled.

“Without looking at the language of the bill, this is clearly a desire to see this loophole tightened up, and we’re glad they are acting on it,” he added.

Carroll Gardens resident Glenn Kelly said his understanding of the bill is that it “firms up” the law to eliminate potential loopholes.

That might be a good thing for certain neighborhoods, where a veritable “mono-culture” of bars and restaurants have given rise, replacing most other small businesses, he noted.

“The spirit of the bill is that we don’t get overwhelmed by bars and restaurants,” Kelly said. “It’s to tighten up the rules so everyone understands what they are.”

Barkeep Ben Wiley, co-owner of Bar Great Harry, 280 Smith Street, said he was very familiar with the 500-foot rule, in which no more than three nightlife spots could be located within 500 feet of each other, but didn’t know about the 200-foot law.

Bar Great Harry is not near any churches or schools so the new law doesn’t pertain to this bar, he said.

-With Gary Buiso and Elizabeth Dana